Puente at Foothill College
Puente (Spanish for "bridge") is a national-award winning program that has helped thousands of students reach their dreams of college success. Puente was founded in 1981 by Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath at Chabot Community College in Hayward, California. Their goal was to increase the number of Mexican American and Latino students who transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Since then, Puente has expanded to 56 community colleges and 38 high schools throughout California, and tens of thousands of students have been served. The Puente Program at Foothill College, first launched in 2000, continues the legacy of creating community and transferring students to 4-year colleges, through implementation of the Puente mission and model.
The mission of the Puente Project is to increase the number of educationally underserved students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the community as leaders and mentors to future generations. Puente is open to all interested students.
The Puente Program Model
Three components work together to prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities:
- ENGLISH INSTRUCTION. Puente students take two
consecutive writing classes offered through Language Arts,
English 104A, English 104B, and English 1A. These classes provide a supportive
and stimulating environment for Puente students, with an emphasis on developing
writing skills through an exploration of the Mexican American/ Latino experience.
- COUNSELING. Puente students work closely with
their Puente counselor to explore
career options, develop an academic educational plan and identify their goals
through the Puente Personal Development course, as well as individual counseling
sessions. Students visit campuses of the University of California and other four
-year colleges and attend an annual Puente student transfer conference.
- MENTORING/SERVICE LEARNING. Puente students are
matched with an academically and professionally successful mentor or community
agency. Mentors share with the students how they managed to succeed in the
educational system, how they succeed as professionals while maintaining their
cultural identity. Through Service Learning, where students volunteer their
time for college credit, they enhance their academic experience while giving
back to the community.
- Know what it takes to succeed in college
- Belong to a statewide network of leaders and professionals
- Participate in college tours, conferences, and cultural events
Community College Program Results
- Puente students are three times as likely to succeed (i.e., earn a grade of C or better) in pre-transfer-level English and 35% more likely to succeed in transfer-level English than are non-Puente community college students enrolled in such courses
- Nearly 90% of students are retained in community college for a year following participation in Puente; 73% are retained 2 years after completing the program
- Between 1999 and 2003, Puente transfers to four-year institutions grew by 67%
- In 2003, transfers to UC increased 55% from the previous year (73 to 116)
For More Information...
Contact the Puente Counselor in the Student Development Center.
Want to become a Puente Mentor? Click here to go to our online form.
Puente Project Student Information Sheet (pdf file)
Puente is co-sponsored by the California Community Colleges and the University of California.
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